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Simone Biles wins Core Hydration Classic on road to Paris 2024 Olympics

<i>Andy Lyons/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Sunisa Lee won the all-around Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Sunisa Lee won the all-around Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020.

By Issy Ronald and Kevin Dotson, CNN

(CNN) — Global superstar Simone Biles came out on top at the Core Hydration Classic on Saturday winning the all-around gold and marking the perfect start to her season before the 2024 Paris Olympic Games this summer.

Biles’ overall score of 59.500 was nearly two full points better than all-around silver medalist Shilese Jones and more than four points clear of bronze medalist Jordan Chiles.

She also took the gold medal on floor exercise, as well as silver medals in the uneven bars and balance beam.

Next on the road to the Paris Olympics for the 27-year-old Biles will be the US Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning on May 30 followed by the US Olympic Trials starting June 27 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Three Olympic all-around champions featured in the field for the first time ever Saturday, with Gabby Douglas and Sunisa Lee – who collected Olympic golds in 2012 and 2021 respectively – also competing alongside Biles at the event in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lee won the beam title with a score of 14.600 while Douglas withdrew from the competition after falling twice on the uneven bars.

The last time the three women competed against each other eight years ago at the national championships, Biles came out on top, Douglas finished fourth and Lee finished 10th in the juniors.

Since then, all three have achieved enormous success but have each faced their own challenges, adding a comeback quality to their attempts to qualify for Paris, which begin in earnest on Saturday.

Despite such a talented field, it is Biles who remains the star attraction. She withdrew from several events at the Tokyo Olympics after suffering from what is known as the “twisties” – a mental block causing a gymnast to lose track of their positions midair – but is now looking to add to her tally of seven Olympic medals at Paris 2024.

Biles won a bronze in the balance beam in Tokyo but took an extended break from gymnastics after the Games before returning to the sport last year.

Shortly after her return, she won four gold medals, as well as a silver, at the world championships and became the most decorated male or female gymnast ever, surpassing Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 33 overall medals across both the Olympics and the world championships.

Following Biles’s success at the Core Hydration Classic, the final opportunity for gymnasts to secure a spot along the qualifying road to Paris comes at the national championships in June, where the top performers will be selected for the Olympic Trials.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Douglas, meanwhile, made just her second competitive appearance Saturday since the 2016 Rio Olympics, 10 months after announcing her return to the sport.

Douglas realized she missed competing while watching the US national championships in 2022, she told NBC News Now, and decided to resume training. “Now I can’t believe I’m in this sport again,” she added.

Douglas, who began the competition on uneven bars, scratched from the remainder of the event following the first rotation and posting a 10.100 after two falls, NBC Olympics reported.

Lee has also endured long stretches away from the gym since her Olympic triumph three years ago. Kidney disease threatened to derail her gymnastics career, but treatment allowed her to manage the condition and set her sights on Paris.

The example set by Biles has proved inspirational for Lee, she told Reuters last month, helping her to become a lot more open in talking about her mental health.

2022 US national champion Konnor McClain was injured during a warmup on the floor exercise before beginning the second rotation and was taken from the competition floor in a wheelchair, NBC Olympics reported.

Biles competed against 13 other medalists from the Olympics, World Championships and/or Pan American Games this weekend, including Tokyo Olympic floor champion Jade Carey and six-time world championship medalist Shilese Jones.

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